April 27, 2011
Power and Pressure: The Media in Africa
|Time||Wednesday, 4:00 pm|
Director, International Media, Advocacy and Communications Specialization and Lecturer of International and Public Affairs
School of International and Public Affairs
|Location||International Affairs, Kellogg Center / Google Map|
|Registration||Registration is Encouraged / Sign Up|
Full conference video is now available.
As the extractive sector has come to play an increasingly important role in the economies of sub-Saharan Africa, attention has turned to the media. Many hope that the media will play an important role in framing the policy agenda and educating the public and so support efforts to boost transparency, promote good governance and help ensure that revenues from the extractives are used well to reduce poverty and promote development. But in many of the countries where the extractive sector is important, the media is unable to play a forceful and active role. The problems the media faces include reporters and editors who lack the expertise to adequately cover this important subject, lack of resources to hire and train staff who could do the job, lack of political will and pressure from government and companies not to do tough investigative reporting.
At the same time, an increasing number of NGOs (both foreign and domestic) have begun to look at how to ensure the continent benefits from the revenues that are generated from the extractive sector.. The stated aims of groups like Publish What You Pay, the Extract Industries Transparency Initiative and Revenue Watch Institute (among others) include boosting transparency in order to prevent the funds being stolen or squandered. They hope that the projected revenues from oil, gas and mining can be used to improve the economic development of extractive countries and the income of ordinary citizens.
To this end, many of the efforts of the NGO community are aimed at capacity building and educating members of civil society, government and the media. They hope that by educating and empowering citizens, parliamentarians and the press they will be able to boost transparency and help ensure funds are well spent. A panel hosted by CGT/IMAC could discuss the role of the media in covering the extractive sector in Africa, talk about where some of the stronger reporting is taking place currently, look at digital media (sites like saharareporters.com) and its ability to get around the restrictions faced by reporters in the legacy media and outline areas for future coverage.
Check this page as the event approaches for more information about panelists.
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Media and the Extractive Sector
Arvind Ganesan, Angelo Izama, Peter Rosenblum, Ramata Soré
Moderator: Rachel Boynton
This panel will look at the role that African media is playing in covering the extractive sector. Panelists will examine how the media contributes to promoting good governance and the constructive use of revenues, as well as discuss the line between journalism and advocacy.
Transparency and Governance in Africa: The Work of NGOs
Kobina Aidoo, Ian Gary, Alexandra Gillies
Moderator: Eamon Kircher-Allen
Transparency and governance in many African countries, particularly in those that rely heavily on extractives for revenues, is notoriously lacking. Citizens, the media, and even government officials know too well the opportunities this creates for corruption, and the obstacles it presents to democratic engagement. In this panel, experts from the Revenue Watch Institute and Oxfam discuss the root causes of these problems -the politics of poor governance, the legal frameworks behind relationships with oil companies, and institutional unaccountability- and the work their organizations are doing to address them.
African Media, Social Change, and the Politics of Representation
Ben Akoh, Dayo Olapade, Saskia Sassen
Moderator: Karen Attiah
This panel will look at the role of the African media during periods of social, political, and cultural change in Africa. Panelists will discuss their experiences with the media in various African nations, as well as explore the media's role in the changing landscape of cultural representations of Africa around the globe.
Tea and Coffee Break
How Do Changes in the Media Sector Relate to Economic Development?
Michael Behrman, Sanjukta Roy
In this session, Internews Network will present its new research that looks at how changes in the media sector in the region of Sub-Saharan Africa relate -or not- to other key aspects of economic development. Panelists will also address the issue of whether media development precedes certain aspects of economic development or vice versa.
Speaker biographies may be found at the top-right of the page.
|Co-Sponsor(s)||International Media, Advocacy and Communications Specialization at SIPA|